Let´s talk politics.
now i am by no means a very politically active person. it´s not really my cup of tea. but politics in ecuador really are fascinating.
for starters, democracy isn´t working so well here. in a recent poll, 50% of the population said they would rather have a dictatorship if it meant having a stable economy. wow. the government is getting more left every day, and the current president, Correa (you have to like majorly roll that r to pronounce it right) is pretty buddy buddy with Chavez. He has some support because he´s young and something new i guess, but people are worried about his decisions. he was reported recently to have called a female reporter a ¨horribly little fatty¨ for saying something he didnt like. Interestingly, he used to be a professer here at USFQ, and some people i know here have had him for class. They havent had good experiences with him.
Voting is not optional here in Ecuador. in order to have a bank account, get married, or do anything else practically, you have to have documented proof that you have voted. Mandatory voting doesn´t seem that democratic to me, but they almost have to do that because of the way they run elections… i´m getting to that.
You know how we have our constitution – basically it has only been revised a bit, right? Well Ecuador has completely redone its constitution 21 times, and they are about to kick it up to 22. Because of an economic crisis a while ago, ecuador changed its currency from sucres to the dollar because of inflation. this was actually going against its constitution which states they have to have their own currency. so they´re in a bit of a jam. In order to re-write their constitution, they have to elect an assembly just for that purpose. The elections are this weekend. And guess what? there are over 2,000 candidates.
I´m totally serious. These poor people have to choose from that circus of people to write something that could totally change everyone´s life here. Most people i´ve asked about it have no clue who to vote for. How can you properly look into the political platforms of that many people to make an educated decision?
The atmosphere around the city has been interesting. Every day I pass parades of chifas (these party buses that fit like 50 people and play loud music) with flags for their candidates, hooping and hollering. they get their campaign money from the government instead of paying for it themselves. they government does this to try to avoid people being supported by the banks and end up doing corrupt things later.
It is a law here that 50% of the people in the government have to be women. At first it seem like an awesome idea… something that we could learn from in the US. But sadly ecuadorians have told me most people just vote for the women with the prettiest faces and that´s that. So unfortunately, a lot of poorly qualified women get voted in because they´re a little more bonita. Oy vey.
We´ll see what happens to ecuador…